I think there’s something exciting about the idea of travelling the world that makes people agitated to hoist a backpack, drop everything and take a one-year trip around the globe. Perhaps it’s the thrill of becoming passive observer in an exotic new culture or of fleeing from the normality of everyday life. What do you guys think? For me, it’s the idea of both. I want the sense of anonymity in a foreign country where no one knows who I am and I can do whatever I want. But I also long for a short escape from any expectation, responsibility and just reality in general. I long for that sweet thought of freedom…
However, recently I came to think that maybe my urge to leave home and explore the world made me take for granted the beauty of my origin.
Thailand has been marked as one of the top tourist hotspots in the world. We have it all. We are blessed with magnificent mountains in the north to the beautiful beaches in the south. We are also known for our monumental temples, exquisite foods and friendly locals.
And yet I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t yet gotten a chance to truly explore my country let alone my own city.
With that in mind, I decided that it might be fun to take on the role of tourists for a day and be swept away by the charm of my own city. So last Sunday me and my travel crew (mum and dad) took a spontaneous trip down memory lane exploring the ancient city of Bangkok.
We started our day bright and early with breakfast at Bangkok’s 80 years old traditional coffee house ‘ On Lok Yun.’ The decoration was as bare and unembellished as it could get with chalky glass displays and worn out tables. Yet the place was jam packed with people. People not wanting anything fancy or pretentious but just good ol’ simple breakfast. We started off with coffee then ordered the steamed white bread with egg custard (also known as kaya) and breakfast set (which came with two fried eggs, bacons, hams and Chinese sausages). The food was delicious and filling. It wasn’t a WOW experience but then again we wanted something simple and that was what we got.
Off point, I have to say that despite the lack of interior decoration, they do have pretty cute dishware!
We then headed towards Wat Phrakaew or The Emerald Buddha Temple, which is one of the most historic monuments of Thailand. Okay guys at this point I have a confession to make. Even though I was born and raised in Thailand, my knowledge regarding the history of this temple is very minimal. So here was what I found out on this trip.
- The temple housed the magnificent Emerald Buddha statue.
- It was a custom to dress the Buddha accordingly to the three seasons in Thailand.
- The two giants in front of the temple were called ‘Yakhis’ who stood guard to protect the temple from evil forces.
You can read more about the history of The Emerald Buddha Temple here.
That being said, all in all I was blown away by the temple’s architecture. The walls were so delicately adorned with paintings that depicted Buddha life story. It was beautiful.
After admiring the grandeur of The Emerald Buddha Temple, my parents and I then took a boat ride across the Chaopraya River towards another temple called Wat Rakhangkhositraram or The Temple of Bells. The aim wasn’t to visit the temple but to look around a small local market located just beside.
The market was filled with all kinds of stalls selling many things including cheap street foods, desserts, clothes and toys.
But of course, my focus was on all the traditional eatable delicacies..
First, we came across this stall selling deep-fried banana also known as Kluay Kaek (Kluay means banana but to this day I have no idea what the word Kaek refers to). Some places fried the bananas and left it until soggy with oil. But this place fried the bananas fresh with each order giving the snack a crispy and golden crust.
We also got this Thai crepe/ taco called Khanom Beaung. It is made from rice flour with coconut cream base. You then can either choose a sweet or savory filling. The sweet filling consists of foi thong or sweet egg threads while the savory filling consists of shredded shrimp and scallions.
These are my favorite treats! It is known as Kanom Tuay. It’s Thai version of coconut custard. The base is made with chewy coconut jelly and Pandan essence topped with smooth coconut cream.
Oh oh! And we also found Zhongzi. It’s a traditional Chinese sticky rice filled with sweet taro, ginkgo, pork, beans and salted duck eggs wrapped in bamboo leaf. It’s something that I’ve been seriously craving and trying to find in Brisbane. Finally after a year I finally satisfy my Zhongzi craving. I was in bliss!
But hold on! Those were only appetizers.
After a long morning out about in Bangkok’s sunshine and steamy weather, we decided to head towards The Maharaj.
The Maharaj is a small community space with great atmosphere, nice restaurants and cafes situated right next to the Chaopraya River.
We chose Zab E li restaurant as our lunch spot where we feasted on Thai Northern cuisine. We ordered the spicy papaya salad with Thai anchovies, rice noodles and boiled eggs as well as spicy smoked salmon papaya salad, spicy shrimp salad with mint and lemon grass and grilled chicken to eat with wild sticky rice. My tongue was on fire after this meal!
Throughout my trip in Bangkok I’ve already lost count of how many times I had Thai papaya salad. And still I’m not bored of it. I think it’s like how most Americans consider mac and cheese as their comfort food. For me, it’s just raw papaya and chili.
After lunch, the pungent smell of anchovies lingered in our mouths so we needed to fix that with proper dessert. At least that was my excuse..
My parents and I tried the dark chocolate and passion fruit waffle dish at Amatissimo Caffe.
The waffle itself was unlike the normal cakey waffles elsewhere. It was inspired from the French dessert canalé giving it a crunchy caramelized exterior and chewy texture. It was delicious with just the perfect sweetness.
Once we finished the waffles, it was time to go home. We were exhausted, soaked in a weird mixture of sweat and car fume. But it was so worth it. Being a tourist for a day really opened my eyes to the many wonders of Bangkok. There is still so much in my city left for me to explore. So maybe in the process of saving up for my global excursion, I might just take more frequent trips like this. And you know what, I think that is going to be my plan for the rest of this holiday. So stay tune for more of my adventures in Bangkok guys. Here’s a little hint. It’s going to involve a whole lot of yummy food, boat and river 😉
I hope you guys have a great week ahead!
Thank you for reading always.